The Refugee Action Collective Victoria (RAC) has condemned the Immigration Department’s attempt to forcibly deport of over a dozen refugees last night and called on refugee supporters to mobilise against deportations.
According to Aran Mylvaganam of the Tamil Refugee Council, most of the men are Tamil refugees who had had been held in detention centres in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth.
“One of the refugees is a Sinhalese who was tortured for speaking out against the Government”, Mylvaganam said, “Another has spent six years in Australian detention centres, only to face possible forced deportation now.”
The deportations are among the first undertaken since Scott Morrison seized the Prime Ministership only a fortnight ago. In his previous role as Immigration Minister, Morrison was the architect of Operation Sovereign Borders and responsible for the offshore camps during the February 2014 assault on Manus Island that saw camp employees murder Iranian refugee Reza Berati.
According to Liam Ward from RAC, these latest deportations represent a vicious turn in Australia’s torment of Tamil refugees, but also one episode in a longer tragedy. “This is part of Scott Morrison’s long record of injustice toward Tamil refugees, going back to his time as Immigration Minister”, Ward said. “What we’ve seen tonight confirms that Prime Minister Morrison’s Australia will be built on the violent snatching of refugees from their beds to be shackled and deported in the dead of night”.
Ward urged refugee supporters to take action to defend refugees. “We recently saw Australian Border Force operatives snatch an entire Tamil family including two Australian-born children from their home and their community in Biloela, with the intention of deporting them to likely torture in Sri Lanka”, he said. “Last night in one fell swoop, the Immigration Department has visited that horror on a dozen more Tamils whose hopes for a new life in peace and safety here have been crushed by the cold hands of Scott Morrison.”
Aran Mylvaganam 0410 197 814
Liam Ward 0407 474 313